OPINION: The impeachment circus

Harvey S. Keh

Posted at Nov 24 2017 11:43 PM

Last time I checked, we were still a democracy. That the people are free to express and criticize the administration without fear of persecution. 

But there is an apparent trend of government officials speaking up against the administration at the expense of their freedom or position in government. 

Senator Leila de Lima was incarcerated and removed as Justice secretary based on false allegations because of her dissent on the President’s illegal war on drugs. 

The next target of this administration is the Chief Justice of the Philippines, Maria Lourdes Sereno, who now faces an impeachment complaint. 

But people are well aware of the nature of this impeachment proceeding, and that this is nothing but the administration flexing political muscle to silence the opposition. 

Something terribly undemocratic and unconstitutional.

The Impeachment Irony

Impeachment proceedings exist to serve as checks and balances in a democracy. It is meant to preserve the power of the people so that they would have the power to remove or impeach public officials who have been proven to be abusive of their positions in government. In all instances, it exists to strengthen our democratic institutions not to weaken or undermine them nor to forward a political agenda.

We have seen impeachment proceedings work in the past as in the case of Erap Estrada whose impeachment complaint eventually led him to resign as President of the Philippines after he was proven to be corrupt.

The irony is in the impeachment complaint lodged against Chief Justice Sereno. The impeachment process that was meant to preserve our democracy is being utilized by the administration and its supporters to silence the opposition.

Attack on our Democracy

Just the merits of the impeachment case against CJ Sereno is already a slap in the face of Filipinos. 

Firstly, none of the allegations are impeachable offenses and secondly, none of them were proven to be true. 

Based on a bunch of hearsay, the case proceeded and the committee on justice ruled the case sufficient in form and substance. This exposed the true colors of our lawmakers and where their loyalty lies. Hint: it’s not to their constituents and neither is it to the rule of law.

The Colors of CJ Sereno’s Impeachment

Atty. Larry Gadon, the person who filed the impeachment complaint against CJ Sereno, currently has a disbarment case in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for speech that incited violence against Mindanaoans. 

According to an interview, he would slaughter all the people in Mindanao including mothers and infants. Just to give you an idea on who he is. He is also a proud Marcos apologist. 

This is where things become clear, CJ Sereno voted against the burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani, and she would also likely vote against the absurd political protest of Bongbong Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo.

Removing CJ Sereno as Chief Justice would make the lives of the Marcoses a bliss. The biggest obstacle to their attempt in getting back Malacanang would then be removed, and someone might just get their biggest bonus yet.

There is another person, however, who also has everything to gain when the Chief Justice is impeached: the President.

The stance of the Chief Justice on the EJK in the country has been clear, and the President does not like that. The President also knows that if he decides to declare a revolutionary government, CJ Sereno would dissent. He knows that CJ Sereno is an obstacle in his attempt to consolidate power which is why political muscle is flexed to remove her from office.

The Danger that Lies

The one who loses most if the Chief Justice is removed is not the Chief Justice but the Filipinos. The greater manifestation of this is that no person under this administration is safe. If the Chief Justice can be denied her basic human rights, then the ordinary Filipino such as Kian Delos Santos has no chance of attaining justice.

If the administration is successful in taking control of the judiciary, then those who experience injustices from the state will never be properly defended in the courts of law. This is why we need not only a strong judiciary but an independent one.

And if the administration gets to silence the Chief Justice, then he would be unstoppable in his attempt to remove all checks and balances that are in his way and which are the last bastion of defense the people have.

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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.